Inheritance Tax could become election issue

Inheritance Tax is being pumped as an important election issue which could see Labour win or lose a string of marginal seats in constituencies where the average house price is higher that the 285,000 threshold.

Yesterday Blairite politician Stephen Byers called for Inheritance Tax to be abolished in order to appease the middle classes who feel abandoned by the government.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Byers says: We know Tony Blair will stand down at some stage before the next election The danger for Labour in electoral terms has always been that when he departs from Downing Street voters will feel that the pragmatic and modernising approach of New Labour has gone with him.

However, the Conservative Party has slammed Byers as trying to steal points from Gordon Brown, despite the formers insistence that debate was about policy issues not personalities.

The Treasury also knocked-back his words, citing Inheritance Tax as a fair and necessary means of raising revenue for public services that only affects the top 6% of all estates.

Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary, says an anti-Inheritance Tax stance doesnt make a prudent or sensible tax-and-spend policy.

In its August paper on a simpler, fairer and greener tax system, the Liberal Democrat Party proposed reforming the taxation of assets so that Inheritance Tax falls on accessions, including lifetime gifts in the taxable sum, and raising thresholds and cutting rates.